Research: Study: Fusion energy on the verge of a breakthrough

Research: Study: Fusion energy on the verge of a breakthrough

Research into nuclear fusion has been going on for decades. According to an analysis, Germany could be at the top internationally – but not under the current conditions.

According to management consultancy Strategy&, nuclear fusion technology could be ready for use in electricity generation in ten to fifteen years. The energy experts at Strategy& argue in a new position paper that nuclear fusion could then replace fossil energies and help the global energy transition to be a success.

Despite cutting-edge research in this area, the study authors believe that Germany is at risk of falling behind. Strategy& is part of the international auditing company PWC.

“Germany has all the prerequisites to take a leading role in fusion research,” said Christian von Tschirschky, energy expert at Strategy&. The Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching and Greifswald and the Helmholtz Centers in Karlsruhe and Jülich were among the world’s most renowned research institutes.

Poor financial resources

Financially, however, German fusion researchers are comparatively poorly equipped: According to Strategy&, this amounts to 225 million euros per year. In the USA, government funding for fusion research amounts to the equivalent of 1.27 billion euros. As far as private investors are concerned, according to Strategy&, more than half of the nine internationally financially strongest merger start-ups are based in the USA and Canada, two in Great Britain and only one in Germany.

“Fusion energy could make a decisive breakthrough in the next ten to fifteen years, but Germany is just watching in amazement or skepticism,” criticized von Tschirschky. Germany needs a merger strategy for all steps from supply chains to research funding to administrative regulations.

During nuclear fusion, atomic nuclei are not split but fused together, as happens naturally on the sun. In the event of a breakthrough, fusion power plants could generate CO2-free energy, without the risk of a reactor catastrophe and without the disadvantage of long-lasting nuclear waste such as that produced in a nuclear power plant. The Federal Ministry of Research classified the technology as “clean” in a position paper in June. However, there are currently no fusion power plants that can be used to provide electricity. The Munich start-up Marvel Fusion recently announced the construction of a nuclear fusion power plant on the grounds of Colorado State University in the USA.

Source: Stern

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